Saskatoon man, dog, extracted from Black Lake wilderness
SASKATOON -- A canoeist is in hospital and is expected to make a full recovery after he and his dog were rescued by helicopter.
On Wednesday shortly after 4 p.m., Black Lake RCMP were advised of an SOS activation from a GPS device revealing a location in a remote waterway about 25 kilometres northeast of Black Lake.
The SOS activation included an emergency message advising responders the canoeist, a 26-year-old man from Saskatoon, was injured and accompanied by a dog, RCMP said in a news release.
Officers were able to contact the canoeist with text messages. Shortly after 5 p.m., the canoeist updated police of the nature of his serious injuries and that he was getting weaker as the cold temperatures dropped.
The canoeist sent another message advising he lost most of his gear. The temperature projected for the night was about -6 C. Officers determined the rescue had to be performed that evening.
Several local aviation companies were contacted, but none were able to travel and rescue the canoeist in the dark.
The location was not accessible by land or water without several long portages.
An RCMP officer assigned to manage the search and rescue contacted the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) based out of Trenton, Ont, and was advised a Phoenix Heli-Flight helicopter out of Fort McMurray could help.
The helicopter arrived in Stony Rapids around 10:30 p.m., to refuel before travelling to the canoeist’s last known location.
When the helicopter arrived, it was determined the location was not suitable for a safe landing. A paramedic was lowered to the ground to stabilize the man.
The helicopter hovered in position and extracted the injured man, his dog and the paramedic just before midnight.
The helicopter landed and was met by EMS.
Paul Spring, president of the Local Hero Foundation, which funds the medevac helicopter that responded to the rescue, said the canoeist and his dog were becoming hypothermic.
“We were pretty confident going up there that we would be able to at least off board our paramedics with all of their equipment to help the patient.
“It was challenging but we have all the technology we need to pull of rescues such as this one safely.”